Urban and Regional Studies

Urban and Regional Studies (URST) encompasses the environmental, aesthetic, social, economic, geographic, historical, political, and cultural aspects of cities, suburbs and regions. It advances in-depth study of some of the major challenges facing individuals and groups living and working in major metropolitan regions, such as the Detroit area.  These challenges include:

  • Economic development
  • Urban poverty and income inequality
  • Preservation and promotion of culture, architecture and art
  • Land use conflicts
  • Provision of adequate and sustainable transportation and housing services.

The focus of the URST program is to provide you with the knowledge, techniques and critical analytical skills that will enable you to effectively participate in changing your city and region.  

The URST program is interdisciplinary by design, meaning that courses draw upon a variety of traditional academic disciplines – e.g. Anthropology, Economics, English, Geography, History and Sociology.  Students are encouraged to rigorously and creatively integrate the theory and methods learned in these courses.  In addition, a unique feature of the program is that students gain hands-on experience by working in the community through internship, academic service learning and/or community-based research.

Career Opportunities

Urban and Regional Studies provides students with the knowledge, techniques and critical analytical skills that will enable them to effectively participate in changing cities and regions.

Pursuing a degree in Urban and Regional Studies at UM-Dearborn offers you the opportunity to combine real-world practice and theory. Students can specialize in areas such as urban and regional policy, community development, urban design and the environment.

Graduates of this program may consider careers in urban/regional planning, community organizing, non-profit management, public policy/administration, social services, and arts and culture management. They may also consider pursuing graduate education and research in areas such as geography, urban planning, sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, public policy and public administration.

The Major

The program is interdisciplinary by design, meaning that courses draw upon a variety of traditional academic disciplines – e.g. history, English, geography, economics, sociology and anthropology. Students are encouraged to rigorously and creatively integrate the theory and methods learned in these courses. In addition, a unique feature of the program is that students gain hands-on experience by working in the community through an internship, academic service learning and/or community-based research.

Dearborn Discovery Core Requirement

The minimum passing grade for a Dearborn Discovery Core (DDC) course is 2.0. The minimum GPA for the program is 2.0. In addition, the DDC permits any approved course to satisfy up to three credit hours within three different categories. Please see the General Education Program: The Dearborn Discovery Core section for additional information.

Foundational Studies

Written and Oral Communication (GEWO) – 6 Credits

Upper Level Writing Intensive (GEWI) – 3 Credits

Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving (GEQT) – 3 Credits

Critical and Creative Thinking (GECC) – 3 Credits

Areas of Inquiry

Natural Science (GENS) – 7 Credits

  • Lecture/Lab Science Course
  • Additional Science Course

Social and Behavioral Analysis (GESB) – 9 Credits

Humanities and the Arts (GEHA) – 6 Credits

Intersections (GEIN) – 6 Credits


Capstone (GECE) – 3 Credits

Foreign Language Requirement

Complete a two-semester beginning language sequence.

Ancient Greek I and II MCL 105 and MCL 106
Arabic I and II ARBC 101 and ARBC 102
Armenian I and II MCL 111 and MCL 112
French I and II FREN 101 and FREN 102
German I and II GER 101 and GER 102
Latin I and II LAT 101 and LAT 102
Spanish I and II SPAN 101 and SPAN 102

Major Requirements

URS 300Urban and Regional Studies3
Select 12 credit hours in one of the three concentration tracks (see below for choices)12
Select 12 credit hours from the other two concentration tracks12
Select 6 credit hours of academic-based community research satisfied through any combination of the following:6
Urban Regional Stud Internship 1
SiD--Field Internship
Independent Study 2
Designated approved 300/400, 3000/4000 level academic service learning (ASL) courses 3
URS 450Sr Capstone in Community Rsrch3
Total Credit Hours36

Students may elect to participate in any CASL Internship program with approval from their URST faculty advisor by Petition and the Internship Program Director.


3 credits of which can also be used to satisfy the credit requirements in a single track, with the approval of the URST program faculty director by Petition.


For the list of ASL courses for each semester, see Civic Engagement http://umdearborn.edu/asl/.

Concentration Tracks 

Must declare one of the following concentration tracks:

Concentration Track I: Urban Problems and Policy (CAUP)

ECON 305Economic Statistics3
ECON 325Economics of Pov and Discrm3
ECON 482Regional Economics3
ECON 483Urban Economics3
POL 313American State Government3
POL 322Mich Gov, Pol, & Publ Policy3
POL 323Urban Politics3
POL 334Organizing and Leadership3
POL 360American Policy Process3
POL 4605Science, Tech & Pub Policy3
POL 466Politics&Policies Soc Welfare3
POL 467Food Politics and Policy3
POL 484Revitalizing Cities3
POL 489Seminar in Urban Politics3
SOC 350Poverty and Inequality3
SOC 403Minority Groups3
SOC 410Quantitative Research4
SOC 413Qualitative Research3
SOC 435Urban Sociology3
SOC 441Sociology of the Auto Industry3
SOC 473Race, Crime and Justice3

Concentration Track II: Community Development, Culture, History (CAUC) 

AAAS 368Black Exp in U.S.-1865-Present3
AAAS 389Odyssey of Black Men in Amer3
AMST 300Comparat. American Identities3
ANTH 376Power & Privilege in SE Mich3
ANTH 410Archaeological Field School3
ANTH 455Immigrant Cultures and Gender3
ARTH 426City of Ancient Rome3
COML 355Urban Voices: France and Italy3
ENGL 356Reading Urban Monstrosity3
ECON 361U S Economic History3
HIST 3380The European City, 1750-20003
HIST 3601Michigan History3
HIST 3665Automobile in American Life3
HIST 3695American City3
HIST 383Labor in America3
SOC 304Studies in Det.Hist. & Culture3
SOC 4045Dissed: Differ, Power, Discrim3
SOC 423American Social Classes3
SOC 449Black Family in Contemp Amer3
SOC 458Sociology of Education3

Concentration Track III: Environment, Design and Space (CAUE) 

ANTH 345Cultural Ecology and Evolution3
ARTH 365Modern Architecture3
ARTH 375Urban Design Perspectives3
ESCI 305Intro to GIS4
ENST 301Concepts of Environmentalism3
ENST 325Environmental Politics3
ENST 330Land Use Planning and Mgmt4
ENST 340Remote Sensing3
ENST 456Ecological Economics3
GEOG 300Urban Geography3
GEOG 310Economic Geography3
GEOG 325Global Cities3
HIST 374History of Industrial Technlgy3


Six credit hours of upper-level (300/400; 3000/4000 level, excluding internships, co-ops and MATH 385, MATH 386, MATH 387) coursework in a single discipline, in addition to any courses already elected in that discipline used to satisfy urban and regional studies requirements. Cognate courses will provide supporting skills or contexts for the study of urban issues.


  1. At least 18 of the 36 upper level credit hours required in the major must be elected at UM-Dearborn.
  2. In satisfying the academic based community research requirement, students must obtain approval of the URST faculty program advisor for internships, independent study, and “other” approved forms of academic service learning, prior to enrolling in the courses. Courses already designated as academic service learning (ASL, 300/400; 3000/4000 level only) do not require approval. ASL courses vary by semester.

Minor or LIBS Concentration

URST is also available as a minor, or as concentration in the Liberal Studies major. The minor/concentration requires 15 credit hours of upper level coursework including URS 300 and at least one course from each of the three tracks below.

        Track I:  Urban Problems and Policy: Course attribute CAUP
ECON 305, ECON 325, ECON 482, ECON 483; POL 313,  POL 322, POL 323, POL 334, POL 360,  POL 4605, POL 466, POL 467, POL 484, POL 489; SOC 350, SOC 403, SOC 410, SOC 413, SOC 435, SOC 441, SOC 473.

    Track II:  Community Development, Culture, and History: Course attribute CAUC
AAAS 368, AAAS 389; AMST 300; ANTH 376, ANTH 410, ANTH 455; ARTH 426; COML 355; ENGL 356; ECON 361; HIST 3380, HIST 3601, HIST 3665, HIST 3695, HIST 383; SOC 304, SOC 4045, SOC 423, SOC 449, SOC 458.

    Track III:  Environment, Design, and Space: Course attribute CAUE
ANTH 345; ARTH 365, ARTH 375; ENST 301, ENST 325, ENST 330, ENST 340, ENST 456; ESCI 305; GEOG 300, GEOG 310, GEOG 325; HIST 374.

URS 300     Urban and Regional Studies     3 Credit Hours

In this course we will explore the field of urban and regional studies. The scope of readings is inter-disciplinary, spanning the environmental, aesthetic, social, economic, geographic, historical, political and cultural aspects of cities, suburbs and regions. The interrelationship between the spatial organization of a city, patterns of social and economic inequality, delivery of services, the relationship between culture and public space, as well as the processes of urban and regional change will all be considered. Problems such as race and class inequality will also be examined. Special attention will be given to issues of relevance in the Detroit metropolitan region (e.g. spatial, economic, cultural, political and social impacts of the loss of manufacturing jobs). Students will be introduced to methods of social scientific analysis and will begin to apply those methods to researching urban and regional community groups, enterprises and social movements.

URS 301     SiD--Field Internship     3 Credit Hours

Full Course Title: Semester in Detroit: Field Internship This course serves as a field internship course for the Semester in Detroit (SiD) program. Students in this course work for 200 hours in an internship with a community-based organization in Detroit over 12 weeks (average of 16 hours per week). They also participate in an internship reflection seminar (co-requisite). Students must apply to, and be accepted by, UM-Ann Arbor's in Detroit program to enroll in this course. (F,W,S)

Corequisite(s): SSCI 302

URS 302     SiD--Intern Seminar     2 Credit Hours

This course serves as a core course for the Semester in Detroit (SiD) program. The primary purpose of this class is to provide a supportive, yet challenging learning space for reflecting on your Detroit internship experiences this semester. There are three main sources of material for this class: you, the internship, and Detroit. While, in theory, each is distinct, in practice, all three are intertwined and interact and affect one another. Your challenge will be learning to see more clearly the interactions among these domains. Students must apply to, and be accepted by, UM-Ann Arbor's Semester in Detroit program to enroll in this course.

URS 360     SiD--20th Cent Detroit History     3 Credit Hours

This course serves as the core course for the Semester in Detroit (SiD) program. It examines the transformation of Detroit from the late 19th, through the 20th and into the 21st Centuries. Our goal is to identify the main forces and patterns of change in Detroit's past that have shaped the contemporary city you encounter today. Thus, the course is organized chronologically, but we will be exploring the city's history alongside consideration of contemporary social issues, challenges, and debates. Course material will include a range of readings, films, and excursions. Through discussion of this material and in written assignments, the course encourages you to develop your own interpretation of the circumstances, challenges and opportunities currently facing the city. Students must apply to, and be accepted by, UM-Ann Arbor's Semester in Detroit program to enroll in this course. (F,W,S)

URS 390     Topics Urban&Regional Studies     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Problems and issues in selected areas of urban and regional studies studies. Title as listed in Schedule of Classes changes according to content. Course may be repeated for credit when specific topic differs.

URS 450     Sr Capstone in Community Rsrch     3 Credit Hours

The capstone course is designed to assist students in integrating the concepts, theories, and methods of inquiry or urban studies into research for or in the surrounding metropolitan area. Open to students in urban and regional studies who have completed their community-based learning requirement for the concentration.

URS 485     Urban Regional Stud Internship     3 to 6 Credit Hours

The internship offers students the opportunity to learn and apply concepts learned in Urban and Regional Studies coursework to real world settings in municipal and regional government offices, non-profit and community organizations, or businesses dedicated to design, development, or data. The student has 8-16 hours of unpaid work per week under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Primarily for junior or senior URS students or other qualified applicants. Up to 6 credits can be used to fulfill the community-based research requirement for urban and regional studies concentrators, with the approval of the URS director.

Prerequisite(s): URS 300

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman

URS 499     Independent Study     3 Credit Hours

Readings, community-based research and analytical assignments in accordance with the needs and interests of the student and approval of the instructor. Students must submit a written proposal of study for approval. In addition, students electing to take this course in partial fulfillment of their community-based research must get approval from the Director of the Urban and Regional Studies program. (F,W,S)